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The People of the State of Illinois v. Ryan Tyus

October 28, 2011

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RYAN TYUS,
DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 07CF1144 Honorable Katherine M. McCarthy, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Steigmann

2011 IL App (4th) 100168

JUSTICE STEIGMANN delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices McCullough and Cook concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 In August 2007, Decatur police detained a package being shipped by United Parcel Service (UPS)--a private corporation--that displayed several characteristics consistent with packages used to transport narcotics. The police brought the package from the UPS facility to police headquarters for further investigation. After obtaining a search warrant, the police discovered cocaine inside the package. Following a controlled delivery of the package at its destination, defendant, Ryan Tyus, was arrested.

¶ 2 That same month, the State charged defendant with (1) controlled substance trafficking with a prior delivery-of-controlled-substance conviction (100 or more but less than 400 grams of a substance containing cocaine) (720 ILCS 570/401.1 (West 2006)) and (2) criminal drug conspiracy with a prior delivery-of-controlled-substance conviction (100 or more but less than 400 grams of a substance containing cocaine) (720 ILCS 570/405.1 (West 2006)).

¶ 3 Following an August 2009 trial, a jury convicted defendant of both charges. Shortly thereafter, the trial court sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

¶ 4 Defendant appeals, arguing that (1) the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the detention of the package; (2) he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel, in that his counsel failed to file a motion to suppress evidence obtained from defendant's truck following his arrest; and (3) the court erred by imposing a 25-year sentence. We disagree and affirm.

¶ 5 I. BACKGROUND

¶ 6 A. Events Prior to the Issuance of the Search Warrant

¶ 7 At the March 2009 hearing on defendant's motion to suppress, Detective Steve Young and Sergeant Randy Sikowski of the Decatur police department, who were the only witnesses called at that hearing, testified as follows.

¶ 8 In the early morning hours of August 10, 2007, an officer with the Louisville Metropolitan police department was on "package-interdiction" duty at the UPS facility located within the Louisville, Kentucky, airport. That officer noticed a package that displayed several characteristics consistent with packages used to transport narcotics and then contacted Carl Batters, a retired Chicago police officer and specialist in the detection and interdiction of suspicious packages.

¶ 9 Shortly thereafter, Batters relayed to Young the following description of the package, as described to Batters by the Louisville officer: (1) the shipping label on the package listed the sender as Pamela Switerland of 1612 Wilshire, Los Angeles, California, and the recipient as Ranae Burton of 656 S. Fairview, Decatur, Illinois; (2) the package measured 20 x 20 x 12 inches; (3) the package was marked for "Next-Day-Air, Early-A.M." delivery; and (4) the package was heavily taped around all edges and seams. Batters also told Young that the Louisville officer had dialed the telephone number listed on the shipping label for Ranae Burton, but the call was received by a man who did not live at the destination address or know anyone named Ranae Burton.

¶ 10 Batters informed Young that based on the experience and expertise of Batters in the field of package interdiction, those factors suggested that the package contained illicit narcotics. Batters explained to Young that (1) Los Angeles is a known "source city" for narcotics and Decatur is a known "user city" and (2) narcotics traffickers often attempt to avoid detection by (a) shipping narcotics using overnight, early morning delivery and (b) sealing all edges and seams of packages with tape to prevent odors from escaping.

¶ 11 After speaking with Batters, Young called Sikowski, who was in charge of the Decatur police department's narcotics unit, and told him about the package. Sikowski and Young then traveled together to the UPS office located within the Decatur airport and waited for the package to arrive.

¶ 12 On his way to the UPS office, Sikowski telephoned a fellow officer and asked him to conduct a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) search for "Ranae Burton." The officer's search returned no results, which meant that the Decatur police department had never encountered a person named Ranae Burton. Young and Sikowski arrived at the UPS office around 5 a.m. When the package arrived at approximately 5:10 a.m., UPS employee Chris Wright removed the package from the plane and gave it to Young, who inspected the exterior of the package and confirmed the physical features that Batters had described.

¶ 13 Shortly after Wright gave the package to Young, a police canine unit arrived at the UPS office to conduct a canine sniff of the package. Sergeant Dan Weise deployed his dog on the package, which was placed alongside three other random packages, several feet apart. The dog did not alert to any of the packages. Weise informed Young that the dog was not trained to detect ecstasy, a drug for which Los Angeles is a known source city. At 5:40 a.m., Young transported the package to police headquarters for further investigation.

¶ 14 At headquarters, Young and Sikowski attempted to verify whether the names on the package were fictitious by focusing on the apparent recipient, Ranae Burton of 656 S. Fairview, Decatur, Illinois. Young and Sikowski both conducted unsuccessful searches for "Ranae Burton" in the CAD database, which meant that no one named Ranae Burton had ever made contact with the Decatur police department as the complainant of a crime, the victim of a crime, the suspect of a crime, or the witness to a crime.

¶ 15 Young also checked the Secretary of State's "Soundex" database, which provides information on all persons in Illinois who have registered a vehicle with the State or who have been issued state identification cards or driver's licenses. The Soundex search yielded no results for "Ranae Burton."

¶ 16 Young then checked the Illinois Law Enforcement Agencies Data System (LEADS), which provides, in pertinent part, information on all persons in Illinois who are on parole or who have outstanding arrest warrants. The LEADS search yielded no results for "Ranae Burton."

¶ 17 Finally, Young checked the water billing records for the destination address of the package (656 S. Fairview) and learned that the water account was registered under the name Trevell Tyus. The billing records also revealed that the water had been shut off at that location 21 days earlier. Young checked a police database to determine whether Ranae Burton was a "known associate" of Trevell Tyus, but the check revealed no such information.

¶ 18 Young and Sikowski next turned their investigation to the apparent sender of the package, Pamela Switerland of 1612 Wilshire, Los Angeles, California. Young dialed the telephone number listed on the shipping label, but that number led him to an automated message that revealed that the number was not in service.

¶ 19 Sikowski telephoned the Los Angeles police department and learned from a dispatcher there that the 1600 block of Wilshire was actually in the city of Santa Monica, although the zip code listed on the shipping label corresponded to Los Angeles. Sikowski called the Santa Monica police department and spoke with a dispatcher who indicated that the Santa Monica police department had never made contact with that address. That dispatcher also suggested that the address was likely fictitious, although Sikowski did not independently verify that information.

¶ 20 Following the investigation at police headquarters into the names listed on the package, Young, with the assistance of an assistant State's Attorney, began preparing a complaint for search warrant for the package. As Young was preparing that complaint, Sikowski took the package to the security area of the Macon County courthouse and passed it through the X-ray machine. The X ray revealed a 4- to 6-inch, tightly wrapped, cylindrical object suspended in the middle of the package. Sikowski brought the package back to Young at police headquarters and described to him what the X ray revealed. Young included that information, as well as the information he learned regarding the names on the package, in the complaint for search warrant. After returning the package to Young at police headquarters, Sikowski drove directly to 656 S. Fairview, the destination address of the package, to set up surveillance. Sikowski arrived at approximately 8:15 a.m., drove past the house and, having failed to observe any vehicles or activity in the immediate area, pulled into a position to watch the house. Immediately upon establishing surveillance, Sikowski observed defendant walk up the sidewalk and to the front door of the house. Defendant used a key to open the door and went inside. Sikowski remained in position and--one hour and five minutes later, at 9:20 a.m.--observed defendant exit the house through the front door. Defendant locked the front door and fixed a piece of white paper to the front screen door. Defendant then got into a black Dodge pickup truck and drove away. Sikowski waited a short period of time and then went to the front door to look at the piece of paper, which read as follows: "ATT. I HAD TO LEAVE FOR WORK. JUST LEAVE THE PACKAGE ON PORCH. THANK YOU[,] RANAE." Sikowski placed the note back in the door and returned to his vehicle to continue surveillance.

¶ 21 B. The Complaint For Search Warrant

¶ 22 Shortly before 9:25 a.m., Young completed the complaint for search warrant, which he and an assistant State's Attorney submitted to Judge Lisa Holder White for approval. That complaint described the following background leading up to that request for search warrant:

(1) Young's experience as a narcotics officer; (2) Batters' experience and expertise in package interdiction, provided to Young by Batters; (3) information about the suspicious features of the package described to Batters by the Louisville officer, which Batters relayed to Young; (4) Young's confirmation at the UPS office of the description of the package provided by Batters; (5) information provided by UPS personnel to Young regarding the timing of the movements of the package from Los Angeles to Louisville and on to Decatur; (6) the physical features of the package, including dimensions, weight, heavy taping, and information from the shipping labels; (7) Young's belief, based on past training and experience, that the origin and timing of the shipment indicated drug activity; (8) the negative canine sniff and the fact that the dog was not trained to detect ecstacy; (9) the check of the water billing records, which revealed that the water service, registered to "Terrell [sic]" Tyus, had been shut off 21 days earlier; (10) that neither telephone number listed on the package corresponded to the person listed, including the fact that the number listed for Ranae Burton connected with a man who (a) did not know anyone named Ranae Burton and (b) had had that telephone number for four years; (11) the inconsistencies with the California address and the information provided by the Los Angeles and Santa Monica police departments; (12) the characteristics of the contents of the package, as gleaned from the X-ray image; (13) Young's knowledge, based on past training and experience, that narcotics traffickers often use false names and addresses; and (14) Young's overall belief, based on the aforementioned information, that the package contained narcotics. Young also presented the package to Judge Holder White for her inspection. Based upon the foregoing, the judge issued the search warrant.

¶ 23 C. "Next-Day-Air, Early-A.M." Delivery and the Authorization and Execution of the Search Warrant

¶ 24 At the hearing on defendant's motion to suppress, Young provided the only testimony related to the "Next-Day-Air, Early-A.M." delivery, explaining that "Next-Day-Air, Early-A.M." delivery means that the package is "to be delivered by 8:30 a.m.," as follows:

"[PROSECUTOR]: Now, you mentioned some of the factors that were suspicious to you, the early morning, early a.m. delivery, how does that lend [suspicion] to this containing some type of contraband?

[YOUNG]: Like I said, not only is it next day, but it's next day air marked for early a.m. delivery, which indicated that package is to be delivered by 8:30 a.m.People will often try to conduct drug transactions or illegal activity at those early morning hours in the hopes that narcotic officers or other officers will not be on the streets or will not be fully, you know, staffed at those time[s] of day so hopefully they can operate without being detected by us.

[PROSECUTOR]: Now, the next day air that's a delivery time of 10:30?

[YOUNG]: Yes. A normal next day air is 10:30. If you choose to have next day air with early a.m. delivery then you are going to ...


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